Your heart rate is a useful tool when you exercise. It can not only tell you how hard you’re working but it can also tell you if you’re burning fat. So, when Lolë told me a few months ago that they would be launching its Smart Bra, a sports bra that tracks heart rate, I had to try it.
Lolë held a media event to try the sports bra at a bar class. Not exactly a cardio class – my heart rate was 97 bpm at the end of the workout. I’m sure it was meant more for influencers to share photos, but I needed a true HIIT class to really test it out.
The heart rate monitor sports bra test drive
I wore the heart rate sports bra to a 30 minute HIIT circuit class. After a 10 minute-warm up, I did side lunges and curtsy squats, glider pushups, TRX pushups and extensions and plyometric jumps landing on one foot, with 30-second sprints on the treadmill between exercises.
Here’s what you need to know
The Lolë Smart Bra X and MI Pulse Universal Heart Rate Monitor are sold separately.
The bra is a high impact bra with moulded cups, a double back eye-hook closure. (yes! Just what we need after a sweaty workout.) It comes in sizes S, M and L.
The straps are adjustable, so they can sit straight over your shoulder blades or you can have them criss-crossed.
The monitor just snaps on the band in the centre front of the bra. You remove it to wash the bra.
It’s a universal heart rate monitor so it works with blue-tooth fitness apps for your phone or smart watch that montior heart rate.
The sports bra has two sensor pads under each breast. It works like those band heart rate monitors.
What I loved
The bra is comfortable and easy to put on and off.
It’s black, so I don’t have to think about what will go with it – especially with tanks and tees that expose the back.
It was easy to sync with my iPhone and Apple Watch. I just turned on my blue tooth in my settings, and then in the app connected the device. (To test the sports bra I used Wahoo Fitness, but you can use whatever fitness app you prefer, as long as it includes a heart rate monitor feature.)
I didn’t notice the heart rate monitor during the workout. I find wrist monitors slip, and the chest belt ones are so awkward with a sports bra. So, putting it in the sports bra is genius.
What I learned
This was an average workout for me, and my max heart rate was 215 bpm, with an average of 154 bpm. According to online fat-burning zone calculators, I should be working out at 147 bpm. I burned 265 calories in the workout.
What else you need to know
Not everyone is a fan of moulded cups. So, if you’re more of a shelf bra girl, you would have to get used to the Smart Bra, or just stick with the traditional heart rate monitors.
Most smart watches nowadays monitor heart rate, so you might not need the Smart Bra if yours already does.
The Smart Bra doesn’t know when you start working out. And I’m the worst for remembering to hit “start workout” on fitness apps. So, I missed the first five minutes of the workout in my stats.
If you’re training involves monitoring your heart rate (like at Orangetheory Fitness, your trainer tracks it, or you’re trying to improve your cardio), this might be worth the investment for you. You’re already buying sports bras, and this is way more comfortable to move in than a chest strap. If you already have a heart rate monitor (one that clips in to the chest strap), bring it with you to the store to see if you can use it with this bra. You could save yourself some money by not buying something you don’t need.
While this is great information to have, I don’t think it’s necessary for every workout I do. There are days when I can go all out, and there are days when I need to take it back. And my energy levels can tell me that. But if I’m training for a fitness event, I’ll use these numbers to help me get better at my cardio.